Walt Disney World has earned a reputation worldwide as a top family destination. Friendly characters and a plethora of child-friendly attractions abound. Adults without children may simply assume that Disney holds nothing of interest to them.
In reality, Disney offers attractions for all ages and interests. Though the thrill rides tend to be “family friendly,” there is enough variety that even the most hardcore adventure seeker will be entertained.
Epcot is divided into two main sections: Future World and the World Showcase. Future World focuses on the technological advances of the near future, while the World Showcase celebrates the culture of a variety of nations.
Technology junkies will want to spend most of the day here. From the hands on exhibits of Innoventions, to the historical perspectives of Spaceship Earth, Future World is fascinating to those who love technology.
Mission Space is one of the most talked-about theme park thrill rides in the world. Designed in partnership with NASA, the attraction utilizes centrifugal force to simulate a voyage to Mars. This is an extreme ride, with airsick bags provided in every cabin. Thrill seekers will want to choose the Orange side, which provides a much more intense experience.
Test Track provides guests the chance to go inside a GM proving ground. Step into your car, fasten your seat belt, and hold on tight as you are taken through a variety of extreme test conditions. The ride culminates in a 65 mph outside loop. This is a definite must-do for thrill seekers.
Soarin’ is Epcot’s newest attraction. Though not a traditional “thrill ride,” this experience simulates a hang gliding flyover of California. A combination of sights, sounds, and even smells, combined with realistic movement of the attraction seating, make this an experience that is not to be missed.
*Tip* The front row provides, by far, the best seating.
Spaceship Earth is a must-see. Housed inside the “giant golf ball” at the park entrance, this spectacular dark ride takes guests inside the history of communications from the dawn of man to the global connectivity of today. The attention to detail in this attraction is amazing.
If the Wonders of Life pavilion is open when you visit, be sure to experience Body Wars. This simulator attraction provides a high speed journey inside the human body. Be sure to sit in the back row for maximum thrills, with your feet lifted from the floor and your hands off the armrests. Several other attractions are housed in this pavilion as well.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure offers the opportunity to travel back in time to the age of the dinosaurs. The premise is silly but fun, and the animatronic dinosaurs are truly spectacular.
Animal lovers will enjoy The Seas with Nemo and Friends. The aquarium’s sheer size has earned it the nickname “World’s Sixth Largest Ocean.” A variety of sea life can be found here.
*Tip* While in Future World, head over to Club Cool. This is the home of one of Disney’s rarest treats – free sodas! A variety of Coca-Cola products from around the world are on tap, all at no additional charge. True thrill seekers will want to sample the Beverly.
Though decidedly light on the thrills, this World’s Fair themed section of the park is a lot of fun. Strength ballet, jugglers, mimes, and other street performers provide excitement at many pavilions.Be sure to catch Off Kilter. Fusing hard rock with traditional Celtic sounds, this well-known band performs several times a day on an outdoor stage in Canada. Who doesn’t love the Beatles? A rather amazing tribute band known as the British Invasion performs several shows daily in the United Kingdom. Grab a pint of beer from the nearby Rose and Crown pub, and enjoy the show. For pure kitschy fun, do not miss the Maelstrom. Located in Norway, this ride was originally billed as Epcot’s first thrill ride. The storyline and effects are incredible, but thrill ride? Check it out and decide for yourself.
All of the pavilions are staffed by citizens of the represented country. The pavilions are quite well-done, and provide fantastic shopping opportunities. Be sure to take a walk through each one. An illumination, Epcot’s nighttime fireworks and laser spectacular, takes place nightly around the World Showcase Lagoon. This fusion of lights, pyrotechnics, and music is fantastic, and definitely not to be missed. Arrive early for the best viewing locations (many people arrive an hour or more prior to showtime).
Although Walt Disney World vacation has a well-earned reputation as a family vacation destination, it should not be overlooked by active adults without children. Epcot is home to two of Disney’s best thrill rides — Test Track and the legendary Mission: Space. Though mild by traditional standards such as airtime and G forces, many of the other attractions utilize a combination of sights, sounds, movements, and even smells to create fully immersive and exciting experiences. Walt Disney was a master storyteller, and Epcot is the culmination of his final dream. A trip to Epcot will provide excitement for even the most dedicated adventure seeker.